After an almost year-long test run through an Early Adopter Program, Google is finally bringing its Hangouts Chat to a wider enterprise audience as part of its core G Suite services. That's according to an official announcement from the company via its official blog published on February 28. It goes without saying that the app includes the same features as the normal Hangouts applications which allow for group or direct messaging. However, Hangouts Chat is different in that is also has a lot of features aimed at simplifying deeper collaborative efforts so that real work can get done.
For starters, it integrates with the other Google apps included in the G Suite – such as Google Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, or Slides. It also allows as many as 8,000 participants in a single chat and supports users across 28 languages across all of the most widely used platforms. Chats, shared files, and members are all searchable, to keep things organized and prevent confusion. Meanwhile, a feature the company calls Hangouts Meet allows users in collaboration to hold meetings and the entire platform has been made just as secure as the rest of G-Suite. Diving deeper into the productivity front of Hangouts Chat reveals a total of 25 separate chatbots. Those range in function from the automation of meeting scheduling and notifications about Google Drive shares to human resources or project management. Building and integration of custom enterprise tools is also easy enough to accomplish on the Chat platform, so company-specific bots or apps can be incorporated to suit an individual business's needs. while there are also dozens of other enterprise-ready applications available from a wide array of companies already developing for the platform.
For those who already use Hangouts for business, the new Chat variation is completely compatible with that and works using existing contacts. Getting started is simple enough. The feature can be accessed at chat.google.com or via an application for both computers and smartphones. Users also probably shouldn't be too concerned if they haven't noticed the new tool yet since the company says it will be rolled out over the course of the next week.